By Bob Uphues
Less than 24 hours after a 17-year-old Berwyn boy reported that he had been robbed at gunpoint at a Riverside bus stop, detectives say surveillance video has proved that the report was fabricated and that the purported victim admitted making up the story after losing $175 he'd been given as a present.
The boy had told police that he and a female companion were robbed by three black men as they waited for a southbound bus at the corner of Harlem and Ogden avenues just before midnight on July 11.
The boy reportedly told police that they were approached by three men, one of whom pointed a gun at his chest and demanded his wallet. The boy then said the three men drove off in a car that was waiting in the parking lot of an adjacent medical office.
However, the boy didn't report the robbery for an hour, telling police the delay was due to his cellphone battery being dead. The bus stop is directly across the street from a 24-hour fast-food restaurant and a tavern, which also would have been open at the time of the robbery.
Police reported obtaining surveillance camera video from several businesses near Harlem and Ogden as well as red-light camera video, which reportedly showed the boy crossing from Berwyn into Riverside at about midnight. However, he reportedly stayed at the bus stop for about 30 seconds.
According to Police Chief Thomas Weitzel, the female was not seen in video showing the boy at the bus stop and that she had nothing to do with the false report to police.
In a follow-up interview with the boy, which was reportedly conducted in the presence of his parents, police say he confessed to making up the story because he was afraid to tell his parents he'd lost money given to him earlier that night as a birthday gift.
Weitzel said he was referring the matter to the Cook County State's Attorney's juvenile division to see whether or not to charge the boy with a crime or write him a local ordinance violation ticket.
Police also may seek a judge's order to recoup detective overtime costs associated with the investigation, said Weitzel.
"This took time away from legitimate criminal investigations that needed to be done," Weitzel said in a press release.